Microsoft Studios' future lies in the 'connected audience'

VP Phil Harrison reveals publisher moving away from packaged goods and towards becoming "operator of connected devices"; London studio established to develop "new IP and business models."

Microsoft Studios will be increasingly looking to transition its major gaming titles across multiple platforms for the "connected audience", according to Microsoft corporate vice president Phil Harrison.

Speaking today at a London press briefing, Harrison said that the future of Microsoft Studios will be in transitioning from "device-centric" to "cloud-centric" titles accessible on multiple devices. Harrison, who held various high-level positions at Sony up until early 2008 said that such thinking "is what influenced me to join Microsoft in the first place."

"Everything we do will have increasingly deep social and additional features that are reliant on the network, enhanced by the network, and unlocked by the network," Harrison said, adding that Microsoft will be "moving from being creator of packaged products to being an operator of connected services."

Harrison also unveiled a new first-party Microsoft studio named Lift London. While Lift had no titles to show at present, Harrison announced that its fledgling developer is being helmed by Lee Schuneman, a Rare veteran who started at the company as game director on Diddy Kong Racing.

According to Schuneman, Lift London is a "21st century studio" that will create "for the cloud, network and multitude of devices." The studio will be working on "delivering entertainment as a service" and will be initially focusing on developing predominantly for Microsoft's European territories.

Microsoft also announced that it will be recruiting over 100 new people to Microsoft Studios' London operations before the end of the fiscal year.

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89 comments
CidMusic420
CidMusic420

I was going to build a new gaming rig last year. I reformatted my old XP and dropped $200 on GOG instead. Smartest move I made in a while.

charlieholmes
charlieholmes

One more thing folks, those of you who don't see or realize yet that any and everything requiring always connected is doing things in the background to spy or otherwise profit in ways by seeing what your always doing etc. need to wake-up and demand it stop. Consumer power is huge if you push for better. We're just starting to see the truth behind companies using our devices (IPhone) always on features to watch and see what the consumer is doing etc. To me, it's completely unethical but not to the greedy who want more and larger profit margins. At some point enough is enough. I, like others, look for escapism in gaming and not to be always connected to the real or outside world. For those times I want it to still be my decision if I want to go that direction.

charlieholmes
charlieholmes

I won't be joining Harrison's community of always, "connected", gaming. For me, I want my products to be able to be played anywhere, anytime, and without a connection requirement. So he can take his model and products to the unemployment line hopefully. That's why I haven't sold any of my games (about 150) and keep them to go back and replay if this trend becomes the only option forcing me to stop buying new stuff. Yeah, I'm sure I'll miss out on some stuff I would like but I'm adamant on this one issue.

l777l
l777l

I dislike that.

ggregd
ggregd

Translation:  We want the games to be always on for DRM, and we're trying to think of ways to get people to submit.

ebonyflame
ebonyflame

This might work in the future when high speed network connections are as common and dependable as plain old telephone systems, but in our society today, where various ISP's claim bandwidth is always being overused because they refuse to spend the profits they make on enhancing and building out the infrastructure, it can never work. The sad part about it is that you see non ISP companies such as Google stepping up and building out infrastructure in limited areas for testing.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

They need connected devices so they can CHARGE FOR THE SERVICE

ayman03
ayman03

MS are a bunch of idiots

dogpigfish
dogpigfish

Makes sense. I wish we could just see another old fashioned Xbox, but they have to join the change to survive.

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

I miss '90s Microsoft. This noise is just awful. 

dethman75
dethman75

What a crock of shit.

Most people play video games for escapism and don't want to be connected all the time with friends and family.

If a wanted to do that i would talk to them IRL.

All i see from this suit is an opportunity to cram in more money for themselves via advertising revenue that would infest any social hub created.

I'm sorry but i can't in good faith pay money for a product i don't own and big brother watching when, where and who i play with.

Looks like TPB is going to be the only popular social hub in this mess that the gaming industry has become because real gamers have had enough of this shit.



myungish
myungish

Anyone else getting sick and tired of hearing the word 'social' come out of these suits' mouths?

Lotus-Edge
Lotus-Edge

I don't want bloody social media sites on my Live....

Nintyfan95
Nintyfan95

TRADER! But atleast he gets where the industry is heading. 

fredwv
fredwv

maybe it's just me, but I don't want a camera zoomed in on my bald head.  Just sayin...

Marcusraitor
Marcusraitor

Thats Sad. Maybe the end of My Hobby is coming soon. But well i think gaming want the new generations and younger audience. Guys like me, wants ownership on our games

we buy. Maybe we are going to do something else. I hope they dont go that route. Im the gaming Generation since the Nes, and i cant beleive that gaming is transforming now

in all power for developers and publishers nothing for the gamer. Too much DLC too much Extra characters that you have to buy with real money. I mean this is seriously a Rip Off. But well i hope not and if they go that route. Im going to come here and say good bye to all.

YYankee
YYankee

I don't understand how this is bad. More social and other connection options are a good thing as long as there are common sense privacy settings to go along with them. Anybody from Rare seems like a good pickup for Microsoft to me. I loved Diddy Kong Racing.

cirugo
cirugo

one more game publisher to avoid.  it's really getting easy to cut down on the money i spend on games anymore.

svaubel
svaubel

I dunno about these company big wigs but I sure dont want gaming to be digital only where whenever they feel like it they can shut servers down and oops no more of game X for you.

The last thing we need is for the publishers to have complete control. And who the heck wants to have a Facebook-like experience while playing a game?

FAIL_TR0LL
FAIL_TR0LL

Look up the "Skulls of the Shogun" game. This is the kind of thing that the article is talking about. You can play the game on any MS device - xbox, windows 8, windows phone, surface...save it and continue on a different device. Matchmaking also works across all devices. Someone on Windows Phone can play against someone playing on the xbox (for example). 

The only thing that's pretty lame is that you have to pay for the game on each platform you play it on. Need more Sony cross play influence here.

PStrife
PStrife

Harrison seems rather out of touch with his consumer, I do not want any of this.  I neither am asking for this.  If the intent is to get little to zero future moneys from me, then good job at that.

Next-gen seems all doom and gloom for good reason.  Manufacturers seem to be living in a dream world where reality is no longer accepted.

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

oh ms made a mistake in hiring phil harrison

Vari3ty
Vari3ty

I really don't care for all these "social" features added into games. Far Cry 3 had the equivalent of a Facebook wall in it... why would I want that? 

0m39AX
0m39AX

Suppose that titles distrubuted by Microsoft Studios - such as Forza Motorsport - are available for multiple devices/platforms. So you can play Forza in the next Xbox, in the pc(with a windows OS), or in some portable device released by MS. I wonder: are they all going to look alike?

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

Well, if that's the future, than at least I'll be saving tons of money by leaving gaming.  I'm not gonna give the corporates that much control.

rlv217
rlv217

I don't even use the social side of the 360. I just play COD a few hours a month, then again I was gifted a year to LIVE, so didn't have to pay for the service. Rather companies go back to being all about the games.

Dav_id83
Dav_id83

Consoles will soon be using digital downloads for gaming instead of discs but not at a fast rate they want to due to the limitation of various network speeds around the world, I for one am in favor of DD but I am also in favor of disc based games too,

juboner
juboner

i would rather them focus on one device for games

jhughes748
jhughes748

The only reason that console gaming is "dying" is because the publishers and manufacturers keep taking it in directions that their core audience don't want. 

digi-demon
digi-demon

Imo Mr Harrison should have stayed at Sony - he brings nothing to MS and Xbox

Carpetfluff
Carpetfluff

I love the way there a loads of comments about how this has made people decide to go PS4 next gen when they have no way of knowing if Sony won't be as much, if not more, into pushing a digital and connected agenda too.

dbrtwo
dbrtwo

"Everything we do will have increasingly deep social and additional features that are reliant on the network, enhanced by the network, and unlocked by the network," Harrison said.

PS4 here I come!

dbrtwo
dbrtwo

PS4 here I come.

Not interested in constant connectivity. I fear a day when you must be connected to play single player games or must download all your games.

Johny_47
Johny_47

Then they should ask more of their 'microsoft game studios' to make games for PC aswell, like Forza and Gears of War and then have cross play like they tried with Shadowrun, they could easily make it work and if all they care about is money, they'd get loads from PC players buying those games too.


I've always liked the idea of playing across different platforms.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

MS are simply aiming for a completely 'Syncronous' gaming enviroment, which i happen to think is a brilliant idea.

edulink
edulink

Microsoft's future lies in my "thanks but no thanks" list.

TrueGB
TrueGB

Meh. I've already decided to go PS4 next gen. The crappy hardware turned me off and nobody has said anything yet about how they plan to address that.

Serpentes420
Serpentes420

My biggest problem with Microsoft is that they are so centered on everything around the XBOX brand except for gaming.  I am a gamer Microsoft, the people who buy consoles are gamers, gamers like.......GAMES and good systems to play them on.  All this other B.S. is not going to convince gamers to buy your system over PS4 and I seriously doubt its going to convince a person who isn't into gaming to get an XBOX.  


I may be completely off base with how the mass public feels but personally Microsoft has been pushing me back towards Sony the past couple years.  In fact except for things like Mass Effect and Borderlands where I've already played the previous entries on my XBOX I get all my multiplatform games for my PS3

ggregd
ggregd

@fredwv Hey, he shaved it so he's, like, not really bald any more.  Yeah.  That makes it better.  It means he's more dominant, and not old Mr. Potato Head.

leviathanwing
leviathanwing

@YYankee they own rare so thats redundant.  yet no games since 4 years ago... not owning your games is good?

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

@Carpetfluff 

Agreed, Its fairly obvious that future console generations will 'Heavily' rely on 'The Network', any console manufacturer that dismisses this fact will do so at their peril.

Given that MS have the infrastructure and expertise, i think the idea of a syncronous gaming enviroment is a high possibility.

unaminous
unaminous

@dbrtwo Ha! Just look at PC games like Diablo III and the soon-to-be-released SimCity. At least these are for PC and can be cracked. Console games would be a little more difficult.

shadowhunter0
shadowhunter0

@dbrtwo that is already here look at Diablo 3 you must be online in order to play that game even single player

jtthegame316
jtthegame316

@Serpentes420 i own both to but i get all my multi platform games for xbox ps 3 controller sucks to the point where i have to use a device where i can use an xbox wired pad on ps 3. now just because they try to build the xbox brand does not mean they are not bothering with bringing games out. when you look at the games on both ps 3 and xbox they are 90% the same just if you want to play the likes of halo, gears and alan wake you have to have xbox and if you want to play unchared god of war and yakuza games you have to have ps 3.  xbox has some damn good xbla exclusives to

Ads6
Ads6

@Serpentes420 I dont normally comment however i do agree with you, i like gaming to, well quite simple, game. Im not a fanboy of anyone to be honest i only stuck with xbox simple because i already had a great deal of data on my xbox for games which i return to from time to time that and switching would cost more in the long run but anyway.

 I can understand what microsoft are doing however as things currently stand and the way microsoft traditionally are, i shall be sticking with ps4 on the coming gen. As i said i like to game and thats all i really use consoles for and thus far the ps4 seems to be suiting that need far better than microsofts xbox however all this being said if i could afford it id totally be a pure pc gamer.

YYankee
YYankee

@leviathanwing Since when does being connected with multiple services and using cloud computing equal "not owning your games"? Also it's not redundant that they put a ex Rare developer in charge of a new studio.

vgtg16
vgtg16

@jtthegame316 @Serpentes420 
Not paying 400.00 for XBLA exclusives. Find myself using the PS3 more and more and slowly discovering Sony's superior exclusives that I missed out on, love Gears of War but Uncharted and God of War are superior gaming experiences in every way.


jeffrobin
jeffrobin

@jtthegame316 @Serpentes420 These people have convinced themselves that the 360 is inferior because of their hatred of Microsoft for whatever reason. Both systems have their good exclusives. Microsoft cares about games, a lot of gaming greats come from Microsoft, read Masters of Doom and how John Carmack's mentor was a Windows developer. Yeah they have some marketing ideas that are annoyingly presented, Trey and Matt summed it up perfectly in E3 but I can't see how that translates into them "not caring" about games. They do.It's damn near impossible to survive in the market if you don't. 

0m39AX
0m39AX

@Ads6 @Serpentes420 I won't necessarily 'stick' with PS4 or next Xbox, since I intend to have both at some point, but I agree with you - and most of the rest - that this should be about GAMES. 

I miss the days in wich Xbox 360 was really great because of exclusives(and great multiplayer), and not any other shit. 

vgtg16
vgtg16

@jtthegame316 @vgtg16 
Understand your comment but have beaten all the Gears games and while other that some average online play what else is there ??

Not a fanboy just stating facts, Sony's box while not perfect but when done right just offers better/more exclusives and some of them are Oscar worthy in production value. Something MS has lost or no longer cares for.

Back to playing Jak and Daxter lol

jtthegame316
jtthegame316

@vgtg16 well you know when you have ps 3 you are going to plsy it but i have both and i play xbox a lot more. xbox people don't have to convince them slef there exclusives are superior. they are to busy playing them. if good of war and  uncharted were so great you would be to busy playing them to sit round convincing yourslef they are superior. i have both them games i played through the uncharteds once and have not gone back to them so far. god of war games i am playing through now and so far they are good but i suspect once i have finished there won't be anything making me go back to them but we will see. i know every now and again i go back to halo 4 and gears

jeffrobin
jeffrobin

@jtthegame316 @jeffrobin Adding this as I can't edit that other comment. Yeah I think your right, MS is cool to hate at the moment. Weird as Sony was the evil empire a few years ago.

Any thanks for the reply.

jeffrobin
jeffrobin

@jtthegame316@jeffrobin The whole console war thing is very boring and mostly emotional. I have played the PS3 a lot and love God of War but was always puzzled by the noticeable image quality drop on the PS3 with 3rd party games. At first I thought I was imagining it and started swapping consoles to check it out (I found it really pronounced on the first Dark Sider's game - huge difference - but saw it others like Assassins Creed). I mean how many times has it been mentioned that the PS3 has more powerful hardware, and on paper it does, so why the difference?. I thought it was the developers because I know Microsoft talked to the dev gaming community before the 360 and lets face it if Microsoft knows anything it's development. Also I'm a developer (business apps unfortunately) and have dabbled in Xbox XNA. It is just so much easier, is almost identical to PC programming but with a dedicated library and a non shifting platform. Check out this link, turns out I was right.

http://www.mmntech.com/2012/01/q-why-does-xbox-look-better-than-ps3.html

jtthegame316
jtthegame316

@jeffrobin That s the most sensible comment on here for a while. they do love to hate on ms. plus gamespot play on the fact ps fanboys mostly come to this site because you listen to how ign reported the same story they made it clear that they are still going to have disk games where as games spot make it sound like they are moving away form retail.